Boris Johnson was very rash in his response to the Munich shooting

Louis Dor
Saturday 23 July 2016 17:20
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Picture: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Boris Johnson has been handed a fairly substantial 'in' tray in his first week as foreign secretary.

There was the Nice attack, an attempted coup in Turkey, and now, in his second week, a mass shooting in Munich which has required a response.

An 18-year-old gunman is suspected to have used a fake Facebook account to invite people to a McDonald's restaurant before launching an attack.

The attack on Friday at the Olympia shopping centre left 27 people injured, while seven of the nine killed were teenagers.

Speaking at the United Nations in New York, Johnson issued a statement shortly afterwards:

Everybody is shocked and saddened by what has taken place. Our thoughts are very much with the victims, their families, with the people of Munich.

If, as seems very likely, this is another terrorist incident, then I think it proves once again that we have a global phenomenon now and a global sickness that we have to tackle both at source – in the areas where the cancer is being incubated in the Middle East – and also of course around the world.

However, the German foreign minister had already set the appropriate precedent with caution when reacting to the attacks, making Johnson's link to the Middle East appear premature.

The suspect, who has since been found to have written material on Anders Breivik's attacks, was later revealed by police a dual German-Iranian national who was born in Munich.

Police also ruled out any connection to Isis, but Munich police chief Hubertus Andrae did say there was an "obvious" link between the attack and Breivik's in Norway, having taken place on the fifth anniversary.

A spokesperson for the Munich prosecutor said the killer may have been receiving psychiatric care:

We are assuming that he may have suffered from depression. As far as we know he has no criminal record. In 2012 and 2010 he was a victim of an attack - on one occasion he was beaten by three young offenders.

These revelations have made Johnson's statement about tackling "a global sickness... at source", at best a little muddied - if we are to make the obvious assumption he was referring to Isis.

After he faced a stern reception to his new role...

...this latest blunder may be time to remind Johnson of its stature.

That drafting a statement as a representative of the government in response to an international tragedy is not the same thing as flippantly penning an inflammatory column.

H/T hrtbps

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